Thursday, June 30, 2022


I do not believe 
there's one tranquil 
maple out there,

or a single 
placid pine,

that doesn't epitomize—
with the top 
of its gently borne 
emerald crown 


from the doggedness 
of its fiercest, most
primeval root—

what people like me 
might mean 

when we say: it's not easy 
to look, outwardly, 
fine all the time.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022


As you well know
by now—after many 
years spent 

living tight-lipped, but also
cheek by jowl 

with your glum, rent-
paying neighbors—

alone is not a word 
you can spot-treat 
with hard labor,

and it doesn't 
only grow in those 
desertified conditions.

to dare speak it
out loud to another

is to cleave its delicate 
aura in two,

you suppose
that, if you could
just write it down,

it might become 
a tiny seed 

which is built 
to contain, in its 
shiny black hull,

this vast, opaque, and 
frozen ocean.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022


In the beginning, 
as far as 
we know, everything 

was made 
of numbers:

little ones, like raindrops,
tumbled down 
in total darkness, 

and fell through 
the holes 

in older, fatter, 
slower numbers 

before landing 
on piles 
of the broken spines 

of the numbers 
that fell to the earth
a second earlier.

And over vast time, 
the steady pattern 
of their falling,

overlapping with 
the rhythm

of the piles 
that kept on rising

is exactly 
how the world came 
to be as it is:

a contradictory 

of falling down 
and vanishing;

a heavyweight thing 
that nevertheless shrinks 

and contracts
at the very same rate
that it's stacking; 

an untold, unfurling 
possibility space 

made of just so 
much nothing—

and nothing 
so extraordinary 

could ever be
less satisfying.

Monday, June 27, 2022


We must take 
some vague, sadistic 
pleasure in discrepancy;

for our birth 
is accorded the mantle 
of a miracle, 

while death 
is shunned and suspect, 
despite its equal mystery. 

And all the wedding guests 
are impressed 
by the ice sculpture, 

even as they mill about 
and fret 
about the ice caps,

and sigh into their 
plastic cups, and cluck their
tongues at one another. 

It's as if our expectations 
were the province 
of magicians, 

since the place from which 
our strange assurance 
so winningly emerges 

is often the same 
empty cage 
into which 

the audience 
just watched our dismay
get inserted. 

Friday, June 24, 2022


It's those faintest,
particularly gauzy 
clouds of early morning—

seeming to swath 
last night's 
dreams, still raw,

and steer them out 
beyond the veil 
of recollection—

which imbue 
the drowsy onlooker 
with the quaintest pretension 

that the sky 
which would deign
to dangle at his window 

is the same 
as the one which extends 
to forever;

and that he's never been 
more certain 
of its clean, untroubled color—

and yet, 
less sure 
of the word for it.

Thursday, June 23, 2022


Don't you almost
kind of hate

how, even the toughest,
hardest days 

still have these 
strange sort of
soft spots in them

where something 
like Imagination 

may gently
but persistently press
against their carapaces, 

creating those curious
and supple indentations 

where voluptuous air 
and limber arcs 
of light 

might swirl 
and flood 
into those spaces—

where attention,
eventually, might 
come to have no use 

for the strange 
local dialect 
of circuitous thought—

and where not 
to occasionally 
spontaneously laugh 

at the loss 
and hardship 
from which they were built 

is to give thanks 
and praise 
to the devil?

Wednesday, June 22, 2022


The way, for a 
long time, we choose 
to ignore it, 

to circumvent it 
with our crosses; 

the way we offhand-
reference it 
in every conversation

as if to toss out
to each 
hapless interlocutor

a bite-sized buoy 
on an infinite ocean;

the way, eventually, 
we all finally stop 

and just sit 
before its quiet grandeur

with no need to look
or even speak 
to each other, 

to simply read 
and write 

and warm our bodies 
by its light—

all of these 
must be mutations 
on the way 

we know of
to praise 
this thing called existence 

as it burns 
in splendid effigy 

to an urgent  

Tuesday, June 21, 2022


           —After Lucy

What if this
is all you get? Just 
for one minute: 

a pale twilit sky 
and that clean scarlet 

finally occupying 
the same space
at the same time.

No winged things 
hovering, or brassy 
trumpet blasts;

nothing unbelievable, 
nothing abstract. 
Perhaps this 

is all 
that is meant 
by miraculous—

a sensation 
like air bubbles 
drifting, swimming 

up and down 
inside your body; 
and then, rather suddenly, 

and down in 
all of us.

Monday, June 20, 2022


By now, you'd think 
we would have seen this: 

how each season 
is precipitated 
by its unwelcome antecedent. 

And yet, crawling 
through winter 
or fleeing summer's heat, 

the weight of time 
and rote-ness of regret 
will still pool 

and enter through 
the center of our pupils. 
Our sightlines toward safety 

and comfort and hope 
are soon overgrown 
with the colorless light 

of yesterday nights
and formless sounds 
of foreboding tomorrows, 

as, once again, we curdle 
with another autumn's 
stiff wind, 

or clot 
at the thought of another 
spring's floodwaters.

And so we stand 
at the edge of it always, 
hurtling curses 

and crippled by inertia.
Invariably, someone will say, 
it's the obstacle 

which becomes the way;
but just as often, we know 
by now, 

it all goes down
vice versa. 

Friday, June 17, 2022


If only 
we could stand 
far enough back, 

we might stand a 
ghost's chance 
of almost apprehending

that aspect of our lives 
which we like to call 
the plot 

as naught 
but a brittle yet 
serviceable fossil—

cleaned, mounted, 
after the fact

of getting pickaxed
and spaded 
and gouged from those mountains 

and mountains 
of all of our
unconsidered actions.

Thursday, June 16, 2022


Caution: certain sorts
of words, with repeated use, 
may swell 

and veil the very 
states of affairs 

or facts which first 
compelled them. 

In fact, in the probable event 
that a question 
is asked, 

any answer given 
which seems to be tasked 

with explanatory capacity 
in excess of no 
or yes

is presumed to be suspect
and should be fathomed as such.

And last, in accordance 
with strict jurisprudence, 

it should be disclosed that 
those heretofore used—

as well as a vast multitude 
not contained 
in this sample—

when experimentally tested, 
were proven to fail 

in the imminent event 
of an honest-
to-god miracle.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022


It's like: you've known 
since you were no
older than two

that an unblemished sky 
is azure blue; 

you don't need 
some poem to come
throttle it into you.

But still, you'd peel 
that dog ear back 

sooner than peer through 
the open window, 

because it both 
thrills and 
unnerves you a little—

rather than reignite 
the old fervor—to poke 
at the embers 

of your first 
true discoveries,

just to make 
sure they still 

Tuesday, June 14, 2022


Have you noticed
how some words 

like to manifest 
their inverse? 
Like how 

"fine" seems to mean
fifty one percent, 

so doing "fine"
on that test means you've
technically failed it. 

Or how "not bad"  
is when your doctor calls 
to say you're "alright,"

despite the persistence 
of those same few
chronic ailments.

And then there's 
extreme ones, like "holy" 
and "sacred"

which taint with shame 
and isolate 
the things to which they refer;

and while we're on the subject, 
let's not forget 

which, historically speaking, 
got misapplied 
to anything 

which was about 
to become 
very popular. 

Monday, June 13, 2022


Six days out of seven,
I don't really talk 
to anyone;

I haunt halls, ascend 
stairwells, tread 
sidewalks, cross lawns—

and, six days 
out of seven, all of this 
feels fine,

because all of these 
silent spaces 
and I, 

we get along 
as famously as Adam 
back in Eden. 

Then again, 
if I were him, 

wouldn't have gotten 
too far off 
the ground, 

since, six days out 
of seven, if you'd asked me, 
I'd have balked 

at the prospect 
of renouncing just one 
ounce of silent paradise;

it's bad odds 
to even run the risk 
of gambling perfection—

let alone the picture-
perfect symmetry 
of one's rib cage

just for the sake, 
on that stray 
seventh day, 

of a little

Friday, June 10, 2022


Often, when you're
in the same vicinity, 
you will feel the need to speak, 

perfuming the air 
with thoughts 
which are edgeless 

as clouds before sunrise, 
which soon meekly 
fall away.

But once 
in this life, you'll sit quiet 
and close together, 

abandoning briefly 
the glibness of nature, 
and becoming 

the secret 
dream of one another.
But beware—

after this shift, 
you'll no longer abide
the prospect 

of regarding 
each other 
as pieces of meat, 

and you'll never again
indulge in such 
prodigal silence;

from here on in, 
you must agree 
to split it—fifty-fifty.

Thursday, June 9, 2022


If the bible 
was right, 

and the 
very first Idea 
was light—

and everything else
we could look upon 
or stand on,

brush up against
or eat,

slowly but surely 
accreted up from there—

then doesn't it 
stand to reason,

especially after 
having wandered
this far east from Eden,

that the 
very first Ideology 
we reach for 

in our effort 
to brighten 
and cultivate the region

shouldn't be very 
heavy either? 

Wednesday, June 8, 2022


Next time it really bugs you 
that you cannot get 
to sleep, perhaps

try to count 
not all your blessings 
or sheep, 

but the hundred billion people 
who have loved 
and lost before you; 

and if that's not enough 
to swiftly do 
the trick, you can 

count up their 
eyelids as well;

watch in your mind 
as they crumple- 
down closed, 

two at a time—
as pretty 
but disconsolate 

as second-
prize roses—
just to make way 

for the acumen of yours,
and the turbulence 
they hold tonight.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022


Sometimes, one forgets
how often 
there is pleasure 

simply in calling 
a thing 
by its name: 

an "explanation,"
or a "problem,"

a "theory," or
a "claim."

Each term displayed 
in its finest
before the mind

like a guest of honor 
seated behind its 
table at a banquet;

then, the facility 
with which one's lips 
will part, 

and teeth 
deflect the tongue; 

and of course, 
that thrilling feeling 
of exquisite vulnerability 

as, all of a sudden, 
one more darling sachet 

of air 
abandons its lung.

Monday, June 6, 2022


So you'd really like to know:
how could those 
illustrious trees—

so splendidly tall,
who pose 
with touched hands

above the middle 
of your street—

seem both 
so old and wise, and yet 
never born at all?

Is it because 
there's simply no other way, 

if you hope to hold 
and keep safe 
and remember every detail,

than to move 
as slow and privately
as physics will abide—

or better yet, 
when the rest of the world 
looks on at you eagerly,

and expects you to grow
(as it will without fail), 

to maybe just sway 
in the noncommittal 
breeze a little, 

but otherwise 
keep perfectly, troublingly

Friday, June 3, 2022


While I'm here, 
when I speak, I will try 
to speak 

for everything—
and traffic jams, 

summer heat
and blood pressure—

in the hope that 
these things, 
likewise, may be

in wearing me—

not like a fine garment 
made for 
special occasions, 

but more like 
an apron 
worn with casual elegance; 

or that billowy smock 
made of faded, 
worn cotton 

kept around 
for its comfort 
on a hanger in the closet 

next to a 
half dozen 
similar others.

Thursday, June 2, 2022


The rust and the rubble 
of tough city life;

the blight 
and the excess
and the savagery of forests—

notice: how these 
sorts of things 
always seem to fascinate; 

it's only your humanity 
that tends to feel 

But the next time 
you're disquieted 

and have no idea 
what to do, 

try taxiing out 
to the middle the street 

when that rare 
and profoundly clear
end-of-the-day breeze is blowing, 

hold both arms 
out to horizons
like wings,

and just try to hang on 
to that solitary feeling 

of not entirely 
disliking yourself 
for trying. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2022


We are born
to ourselves 

on the breadth of 
dateless dawns—

viewed from the 
improper angle,

appearing as 
nothing special. 

In the lattice 
that is spacetime, 

it has 
been there all along: 

every opaque moment 
has a diamond 
at its center.

Those who come to see this
are all so rich 

that no one cares
or notices.